Millennial Men: So Emotional!

I sensed it earlier this week, when Justin Bieber crouched down on the stage and sobbed at the Video Music Awards. Men are so emotional!

New research from Unruly Media shows that millennial men are far more likely than women to have intense emotional reactions. In fact, men 18-34 are also more likely to get angry or exhilarated while watching video ads than any other group, but also more likely to  “feel happy, fearful, nostalgic, proud and inspired.”

And even, says Unruly, to be sexually aroused.

They are the touchy-feeliest.

The exact stats are like this: Compared to the average user, males 18-34 are the most likely to feel arousal (+102% over index), anger (+39%), fear (+38%), contempt (+38%), shock (+35%), pride (+23%), amazement (+18%), exhilaration (+18%), hilarity (+15%), knowledge (+12%), nostalgia (+11%), inspiration (+9%), happiness (+7%), and confusion (+7%)

The average woman, by comparison, is a rock. Women 18-24 were the least nostalgic (14% lower than average) and had better brand recall than any group (+4 vs. the norm). 



If I’ve got this right, then a woman would remember that the beer was Budweiser but the Clydesdales clomping down the road doesn’t remind her of the good old days. Because, dude, she was born in 1991 or later.

The intensity of millennial men’s emotional responses, indeed, were on average 13% higher than the emotional response of millennial women.

All of this is important, Unruly says, because 70% of people who have strong emotional responses are likely to buy the product. 

Unruly Custom Audiences, which is reporting these findings uses data from the company’’s ShareRank. a predictive algorithm that  measures more than 395,000 viewer reactions to videos and sharing data relating to 2 trillion video views to find ones that trigger strong emotions and, central to Unruly’s business, creates strong purchase intent.

Ads that create strong emotional response are twice as likely to be shared, which is generally a good thing. But men 55+ over index by 18 points with the “disgust” emotional response to ads. They do all of us a favor, sometimes, emoting for those of us who won't.

I take these stats with the full shaker of salt, though I know Unruly has data to back up what it says and analyzing everything from eye movement to word of mouth deserves to get into the mix. And in fact, Unruly sharing predictors seem pretty spot on.  

I get that it must be a hard sell for folks brought up on CPMs to grab on to emotional analytics.

Unruly is the only advertising company I know that presents a reading list for its potential customers on its Web site, including titles like Unconscious Branding: How Neuroscience Can Empower (and Inspire) Marketing.  I think I may over-index on how much I like that title, but maybe that’s to be expected.

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